I had the privilege of climbing Warrior II with four of my closest friends. The summit of this incredible peak was just one part of an even greater trip. The trip started with the journey from Torrington, Wyoming, to just north of Farson, Wyoming, with the Big Sandy trailhead as our destination for an adventure of a lifetime. We had prepared well; we were physically and mentally ready for a time in the wilderness with the intent of seeking the face of God.
Day 1. We started the journey with the 4.2 mile trek into Mirror Lake up the Fremont Trail, which forked to the left of where the Big Sandy trail continued up towards the northeast. Just after Marm's Lake, a beautiful, serene lake, we split off from the Diamond Lake trail and continued taking the left fork slightly to the northwest. We traveled through some beautiful country to the top of a ridge that allowed us a great view of peaks to the north. From here we continued packing north, coming to a stop at Mirror Lake. While we were setting up camp and preparing our evening meal with our backpacking stoves, a fast-moving evening shower halted our plans for about an hour. Once the storm cleared off, the evening was cool, refreshing and beautiful, and we enjoyed a nice night.
Day 2. We woke up early to the chirping of birds and the sunlight already streaming through the trees, took down our bear bags, and prepared a quick breakfast. Taking advantage of the morning, we quickly started fishing Mirror Lake for what we could find. Trevor Simmons quickly caught two beautiful 13" brown trout. After a few hours of fishing, we prepared the fish by filleting them and frying them in a skillet, and ate our packed lunches before continuing north on the trail toward Donald Lake. The hike through the trees was incredible, and the soft, wet ground amazed me, since we had just come from a very dry desert. Once we got to Donald's Lake we set up our camp just in time to avoid another afternoon thunderstorm. Once that passed over us, we resumed hanging out and fishing some more. The alpenglow against the western slope of Warrior II was incredible, as was the sunset that night.
Day 3. We awoke to heavy clouds in the east around the summit of Warrior II, which was to be our destination that day. Deciding to at least head in the direction of the mountain, we started the day with some water and granola bars and started our summit of Warrior II. On the way, we saw some amazing effects of glacial carving. We continued our way up an easy to find, but unmarked route up to a tundra around 11,000ft. This was the last stage before the final ascent. We boulder-hopped our way to the top on an amazing climb, reaching the summit around 11:00am. We enjoyed the incredible view to the southeast and to the northwest, from the summit before snapping a photo of the climbing party and heading down. Once we reached Donald Lake, we ate and rested before packing up and heading back to Mirror Lake where we stayed the third night.
Day 4. We woke up in a beautiful area of the trees to the east of Mirror Lake and started packing up our gear to trek back out to the Big Sandy trailhead. It was a great commencement of an incredible trip. Trevor Simmons, Alex Wann, Dylan Wann, and Tucker Winget joined me on this epic adventure.
Trips like this are great for encountering nature on her terms, realizing the fragility of life, and the bonds of brotherhood that unite and create men. I found life on this trip, and in the end, I met God in ways I never thought were possible.
"So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life."
--Peter Gibbons (Office Space)